RIP, Patricia Neal, dead today at 84. All of her obits mention “Hud,” the 1963 Paul Newman movie for which she won an Oscar, but my first thoughts went to “A Face In The Crowd.”

That’s the 1957 movie in which Neal plays a TV producer who finds a loudmouth small-town drunk (Andy Griffith as Lonesome Rhodes) and turns him into a star by putting him in front of a camera and letting him spout off about everything, including politics. It doesn’t matter whether he’s right or wrong, as long as he’s a rabble-rouser and the ratings keep rising. The formula for success: speak in the simplest possible terms, express anger over everything, and always be loud.

Nothing like that could happen today, of course, unless you were looking for the host of a primetime show on a cable news channel.